Malkia Strikers beat Ghana to make Commonwealth history
The national beach volleyball team Malkia Strikers made history on Wednesday at the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England as they won Kenya’s first ever match in the event by beating fellow Africans Ghana 2:1 at Smithfield.
Kenya, making its Commonwealth debut in beach volleyball and represented by the duo of Gaudencia Makokha and Brackcides Agala, came back after losing the first set to win the Pool A tie 16:21, 21:17, 15:12.
The win lives the Kenyan queens with a chance at making the quarterfinals as one of two best third-placed teams from the group stage. Makokha and Agala had lost their opening two matches against New Zealand and Canada and needed to win against Ghana, also making their debut at the games, to avoid elimination.
Salome Wanjala’s side will now have to wait for the conclusion of the other two Pools to know if they will make even more history by becoming only the second African nation to make the knockout stage of the women’s event after Rwanda did it at the Gold Coast games in 2018.
In a close game against two teams very much familiar with one another, both Kenya and Ghana, represented by Rashaka Katadat and Juliana Aryee, had 64 attacks each with the East Africans converting 29 of those while Ghana gained success 28 times.
Right defender Agala attempted 45 attacks in the game and won Kenya 19 points with captain Makokha adding 10 points to Kenya’s basket from 19 attacks.
The Kenyan duo was also successful with its service play where it won five points. Seventeen forced errors by Kenya to 14 by Ghana ultimately was the huge difference maker.
Malkia in Brazil
Elsewhere, the national indoors women’s volleyball side that is currently in Brazil for a training camp preparing for the 2022 World Championships, lost 3-2 to the Taubate women’s volleyball side in a friendly played on Wednesday at the Jose Liberatti arena in Sao Paulo.
After winning the first two sets, Kenya came undone in the final three sets with the game ending 28:26, 26:24, 23:25, 23:25, 10:15.
Paul Bitok’s team has been in the South American nation for the last five weeks courtesy of world governing body FIVB’s Empowerment Programme and has so far played six build-up matches.